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Monday, March 26, 2018
OTC Baseball Kicks Off Pre-Season with Big Weekend

Despite the wintery weather this past weekend, Ottertail Central Baseball had an amazing couple of days. Head Coach Ryan Hendrickson has put together a great pre-season schedule of camps and special events and here's his report on what transpired this past weekend. 

On Friday night as OTC Baseball, along with the Underwood American Legion, hosted a steak fry that pre-sold 105 meals but fed nearly double that number in a great showing of Baseball Support.  Here’s what Head Coach Ryan Hendrickson had to say, “What an incredible Steak Fry we had last night at the Underwood American Legion! It was simply amazing to see all of the baseball support from our OTC community! The players did a great job hosting, we sincerely hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did, THANK YOU ALL!”  The baseball team saw so many people at their event that they actually ran out of both their steaks and fish! “I guess we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were, but we will make the necessary adjustments for our next go around, we are already making notes and planning our 2019 Steak Fry!!!” said the OTC Baseball Manager Rob Larsen, “but man that was fun!” 

Not only was their Friday Night a huge success but so was their Saturday Morning Elementary Baseball Camp.  “Even after getting more than 3 inches of snow and having to back the time of camp to Noon, we saw a record setting number of Elementary ball players come through the Underwood Doors!” said Hendrickson. This weeks camp was set in the spacious gym space of the Underwood K-12 School, and had 40 third through sixth grade ball players enjoying baseball fundamentals of injury prevention, base running, throwing, fielding, pitching, and even hitting.  The instructional camp was the first of six that the OTC Community hosts. “I wanted this first camp to cover many aspects of the game, as we progress through our camps we will get into more depth with each session.” Hendrickson was referring to the progression of his camps in which each session has a different main focus: 

March 24th @ Underwood: Baseball Fundamentals

April 7th @ Henning: Baserunning, Hitting, Pitching/Catching

April 14th @ Battle Lake: Baserunning, Hitting

April 21st @ Battle Lake: Baserunning, Hitting

April 28th @ Henning: Defense, Pitching/Catching, Game Situations, Game

May 05th @ Underwood: Baseball Fundamentals, Game Situations, Game 

Coach Hendrickson is very appreciative of the volunteer help he receives from his varsity players and parent coaches, “Without the volunteer work of my older kids and my parent coaches, none of this would be possible.  The people that help with the activities we host, like our steak fry and camp this weekend, they are improving our communities and our teams. Our kids and teams are better people and groups because of their help and things we are doing.  I love this stuff, I can’t get enough of it, and I am incredibly appreciative of everyone involved. I cannot thank our players and campers, parents, and communities enough. Thank you!” 

Next Camp: 

April 7th @ Henning

Contact: [email protected] to register

Posted By Ryan Hendrickson
Monday, March 19, 2018
Pearson Made a Lasting Impact on Many

When Wally Pearson passed away over the weekend, the Fergus Falls Otters lost not only one of their biggest fans and supporters, but a man whose contributions as a teacher and coach have left a lasting impact on many individuals and families through the years.

Wally began a 29 year career as a math teacher in Fergus Falls in 1966 and in 1975 was named Teacher of the Year.  Pearson was an assistant coach in track for four years, football for 30 years and basketball for 25 years.  He was also head basketball coach for the Otters for five years.

Pearson was also a founder of the Fergus Falls Backcourt Club in 1978 and the Otter Basketball Camp in 1968, directing the camp until 1986.  The Backcourt Club continues to provide a strong, structured environment to teach kids the game of basketball.

Wally and his wife Patty were blessed with three children, Keith, Kristi and Kevin, who all reside in Fergus Falls.  One of the many joys of Wally's life was watching his many grandchildren participate in sports activities.  He rarely missed an event and was a constant presence at Otter basketball games over the years.

What I will always remember about Wally is his kind and gentle manner, and his passion for teaching and coaching kids and the satisfaction that came along with it.  Wally Pearson was indeed a difference maker in the lives of many.

If you would like to share your memories of Wally, drop me an e-mail at [email protected] and I will add them to the comments below.

"I still remember my first 'camp' away from home when I was probably 12 or 13 and attended Otter Basketball camp, which at that time was on Eagle Lake I believe.  I remember the first day in the lodge with Wally, Denny Anderson and Glen Mesker as they went through the 'rules' of being at camp.  "Follow Thru" was the theme.  'If you see some paper or trash laying around the camp, Follow Thru, pick it up and put it in the garbage can.  When you're finished with your breakfast or lunch, clean up your area and say Thank You to the cooks.' They made a big deal about it at the morning meetings if they saw some kid doing things the right way.  It was as much about being a good person as it was about learning/playing the game." - Craig Samuelson

"Some of my favorite childhood basketball memories involve Wally Pearson.  His outdoor summer basketball camps near Dent, MN, gave many of us the best weeks of our summers.  Wally's camp was ahead of its time.  Wally brought a group of us Fergus Falls elementary boys to the Wahpeton Lil' Guy Sixteen Team Tournament.  I still have photos of that memorable weekend, when Wally coached us to four victories and the tournament championship.  We looked pretty good wearing those orange colored Country Kitchen uniforms.  Now, I find enjoyment with the fact that two of Wally's granddaughters, Lily and Paige, are high school teammates with my daughter, Ellie, and Wally's son, Kevin, is one of their coaches.  Attending high school basketball games in Fergus Falls without Wally Pearson in the gymnasium will take some getting used to." - Scott Colbeck

"I have known Wally for about forty years and he was always a first class person.  He would greet you with a smile and a hand shake, ask you how you were doing, and leave you with a good feeling for the rest of the day and beyond.  Family love and loyalty has obviously been instilled in children and grandchildren by Wally and his wife and will be carried forward in coming generations.  Wally will be missed terribly, but the memories will live on forever.  RIP Wally, you were a fine role model." - Warren Nelson

Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Bruggeman Continues to Make an Impact at SMSU

Ryan Bruggeman, junior guard from Pelican Rapids, has made quite an impact at the collegiate level.  The Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs finished the 2017-18 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season with 24 – 8 record which was good enough to earn a spot  in the NCAA Division II national tournament. 

 

The Mustangs were able to advance to the round of 32 with a win over Missouri Southern, 81 to 77, but came up short against Mankato State University in the second round losing 70 to 74.   The Mustangs finished the season 25 – 9.  SMSU has a combined 53 victories the last two seasons which is the best two-year combined win total in team history.

 

Bruggeman, who earlier this season was named first team All-NSIC for the second straight season, helped lead the Mustangs to an NSIC South Division championship for the second straight season.  SMSU finished runner-up in this year’s NSIC Tournament. 

 

Ryan was also recently named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Central Region first team and was honored by the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (CCA) by being named to the All-Central Region second team.

      

Bruggeman led SMSU this season in scoring (16.8) and steals (64), while setting the school single-season record in assists (218) and free throws made (171). He finished the season shooting 46 percent (190 for 413) from the field and 85 percent (171 of 201) from the free throw line.

 

Bruggeman—who has started every game in his career—has scored 1,395 points in his 96-game career, ranking eighth in team history.  He holds the school record for assists (510), free throws made (385) and assists average (5.3), while ranking second in steals (156) and third in free throw percentage (84.2).

 

Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Enter the Bracket Challenge!

The Bracket Challenge is back for another run, thanks to the sponsorship of Kevin Johanson, Certified Financial Planner with LPL Financial.  The College Basketball Challenge is open to anyone and you can access the contest at http://lplncaa.mayhem.cbssports.com/e.  When prompted, enter the password lpl and fill out your bracket!  One entry per person with a deadline of Thursday at Noon EDT.

Kevin will be providing cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 for the top three finishers in the challenge.  In addition, all entries with more points than our host will be thrown into a drawing for another $100 in cash!

 

Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Norgren's College Hockey Career Ends in NCAA D-3 Tourney

UW-Eau Claire senior Lauren Norgren, a Fergus Falls High School graduate and defenseman for the Blugolds, was a nominee for the 2018 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Judy Kruckman Women’s Ice Hockey Scholar-Athlete Award.  Norgren's senior year ended with her team appearing in their first ever NCAA D-3 Tournament.

In order to be nominated for the scholar-athlete award, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.50 grade point average. In addition, she must be in her last year of competition, or on schedule to graduate this academic year, and have competed for a minimum of two years. Amy Auran of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls was the recipient of the award. Another Fergus Falls High School graduate, Joe Cranston, is the coach of the River Falls team. Norgren’s team beat Cranston’s team 3-2 for the WIAC championship and then earned a berth in the NCAA D-3 Tournament. 

UW-Eau Claire beat Gustavus-Adolphus 3-2 in a play-in game on Friday and then lost in the quarterfinal round of the tournament 3-2 to Hamline on Saturday.

Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Fan Bus Sign Up for Fergus Falls Playoff Games

Fan Bus Signup for Otter Playoff Basketball Games is taking place outside the Fergus Falls Activities Office through the school day on Thursday.

 
The cost to ride the bus to UM-Morris on Thursday night for the Otter girls Section championship game against Alexandria is $5.00.  The bus will load at 5pm Thursday at the Kennedy Secondary School Parking Lot.

 

The cost to ride the bus to St. Cloud State on Saturday for the Otter boys Section semifinal game against St. Cloud Apollo is $10.00 with the bus loading at 3pm Saturday afternoon at the Kennedy Secondary School Parking Lot.

 

Signup outside the Activities Office at the school Wednesday and Thursday.  There is no school on Friday, so fans must be signed up by the close of the day on Thursday.

Posted By Craig Olson
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